Category Archives: Safety

Teething: Signs to look out for

Your little one’s teeth will soon begin to come out. It’s a wonderful stage! In this guide, you’ll read about the signs that let you know when your baby is entering his teething stage.

Teething signs

• A month or two before teeth come out, your little one can start to put any object in his mouth and bite it uneasily.

• Gum swelling and inflammation.

• Your baby may start to drool a lot; it can even lead to a facial rash.

• His gums may be sensitive, causing pain.

• He may refuse to eat.

• He may have sleeping trouble.

Not all babies will show these symptoms but if you notice this in your baby, you may expect his first tooth soon!

Teething aches

Teething can cause restlessness, irritability, and increased drooling. Some babies may be desperate and irritated because their situation is not comfortable at all. Other babies don’t seem to feel the change, their first tooth may sprout and they don’t even notice it. Now, despite being uncomfortable, teething should not cause too much pain, high fever, or diarrhea. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is preferable to contact your pediatrician.

How do I dress my baby for cold or warm weather?

How many layers of clothes should I put on my baby? This is a very common question among parents. Sometimes we don’t know how many layers we should put on him and we end up putting on more or less. So, what’s the general rule? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that we should dress our little ones with one additional layer of clothing than what we’re wearing, when we’re in the same environment. If your baby was born premature or underweight, he is likely to require one more layer to keep warm.

In summer:

The sun is out and the temperature rises. We begin to feel hot, and not only us, our children too! It is important to avoid covering them with more layers than necessary, because it could lead to overheating. Dress your little one in light clothing and remember to protect him from the sun. Try not to go out between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when the sun is stronger. If you have to go out during that time, dress your baby with a light garment that covers his arms and legs and don’t forget a hat. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible and verify that he is not getting too hot by looking out for restlessness, excessive crying, and flushed skin – not only sweat!

In winter:

Brrr! Winter approaches. We begin to feel chilly and it’s time to cover ourselves up to keep our internal thermostat happy. Babies also requires covers to stay nice and warm. It is best to use layers, following the general rule to dress him with one additional than you are wearing. Depending on the weather, you can dress your little one with an inside shirt, romper, coat, hat, and blanket. That way, when you enter a heated room, you can easily remove heavy layers and leave him with light ones. It is very important to remove the excess layers so that your baby’s internal temperature doesn’t rise too much; do so even if he’s asleep.

In spring or fall:

Flowers sprout or leaves fall from the trees, during each of these seasons, you need to be prepared for changing weather, including rainfall. So remember to carry a waterproof jacket for you and your baby. Follow the general rule and you’ll be fine! Remember that if your baby was born premature or underweight, he is likely to require one more layer to keep warm.

Should I give my baby a pacifier?

Babies are born with an innate sucking reflex. Pediatricians have established that our little ones don’t only suck for food but also for comfort. Not all babies calm down with a pacifier; but if you notice that your baby wants to keep sucking, and is no longer hungry, a pacifier might be a good idea!

Pacifier advantages:

• Calms your baby and comforts him.

• It works as a temporary distraction.

• It can help your baby go to sleep.

• Studies have shown that pacifier use during sleep reduces the risk of SIDS.

Pacifier disadvantages:

• It can become a hard habit to break.

• It can increase the risk of ear infection.

• Long-term use (beyond 12 months of age) can affect your child’s teeth.

Properly using a pacifier:

• Wait until your baby has mastered nursing, and until your milk supply is well established before introducing the pacifier.

• Don’t force your child to take it, if he doesn’t like it, try again later. If he doesn’t take it, possibly it is not for him.

• Don’t use it as a substitute for food.

• Make sure your baby’s pacifiers are safe by checking to see if there are any parts that could break off.

• Before the 6-month mark, keep pacifiers clean by sterilizing them before giving it to your child.

• It’s best not to fasten it to your baby’s clothes, as the cord can become a choking hazard.

What do I do if my baby ate dirt or sand?

You have probably noticed that any object your baby grabs, goes directly into his mouth. This is a completely normal part of a baby’s development, as in this way they explore and learn about different objects. Also, your baby is now probably highly mobile and has access to many parts of the house. Therefore, it is very important to verify that no harmful objects are at your little one’s reach.

Now, despite having your home baby-proofed, when your little one is outside in contact with dirt or sand, he’ll probably have a handful of it in his mouth before you can stop him. Although you may try to clean as much as possible from his hands and mouth, the damage is already done and it’s in his stomach. This leads to the following questions: Will it hurt my baby? And, what can I do?

Eating dirt or sand can be harmless, in fact it can help strengthen your baby’s immune system. Our immune systems are strengthened through experience. Therefore, we should not be obsessed with having our home completely germ-free. Exposures to these bacteria prevent future problems like allergies or asthma. Now, this doesn’t mean that your baby can eat dirt whenever he wants, you need to take some precautions when taking him outside. If you have pets or if animals usually walk through the area in which you are, it’s important to verify that there are no feces where your child plays. Similarly, fertilized soil may have bacteria that can cause digestive discomfort. If your baby is on the beach, make sure no seaweed or small shells are around him; if you go to a public sandbox, previously verify that the sand is free of debris, stones, and cigarette butts.

If your baby eats a little dirt, don’t worry too much about it. His immune system will probably benefit from it, and there’s no need to contact your doctor. If your baby gets a stomach ache, his body will most likely take care and dispose of the bacteria. But if your baby is vomiting or has prolonged diarrhea, it’s a good idea to contact your pediatrician.

My baby and screen time

Tablets and smartphones are great! They allow us to communicate with distant friends and relatives; they organize our day; have GPS that gets us to new places; help us make reservations, shop, read, and much more. They contain an infinite number of applications that even include an extensive catalog for children. Allowing or banning screen time for babies poses an ongoing debate that is very present in the area of early education. Should babies be exposed to screens? If so, for how long? The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) first stance regarding technology and babies recommends no screen time the first two years of life. However, this position was first introduced 15 years ago, and today it has come to be questioned by specialists in the area of pediatrics. The AAP media committee has re-evaluated its screen time position taking into account the recent technological boom. They now agree that a total screen ban seems to be no longer viable. Therefore, a change in the AAP’s digital exposure guidelines is predicted in the coming years.

Technology changes every day and whether we like it or not, it’s part of our daily life. It has become part of our reality; our children see us use our smartphones and tablets every day, and remember they learn through imitation. For this reason, we need a new way to define and use these tools – which is what they are, tools. We need to ensure that when our children are exposed to screens, we provide them with appropriate applications and interact with them, so their experience is the most educational and social as possible.

Before they reach two years of age, our little ones experience a learning boom. Research has verified that they learn best from face-to-face interaction and understand our language even before they can talk. Therefore, talking, reading, playing with your child and allowing free movement will help him or her develop linguistic, cognitive and physical skills; as well as coordination, visual perception, and much more. Screens can’t replace these valuable learning experiences. Even though technology provides sounds, images, and voices, it can’t sustain a two-way interaction. That is, if your little one smiles, the device can’t smile back at him, but you can! As simple as it may seem, social interaction helps your kiddo tremendously and provides a wonderful opportunity for bonding. Now, thanks to all the advances in technology, there is a way to have enriching social interactions through platforms such as Skype and FaceTime. These apps allow our babies to come in contact and learn from loved ones who can not visit them in person. This type of screen use does provide two-way interactions and facilitates learning and social interactions, while other apps only provide a distraction.

Scientific studies regarding technology are complicated because technology is constantly evolving. To publish a scholarly study, it can take up to four years. By that time, the world of apps children come in contact with have already changed drastically! For this reason, it’s not clear if screen time before two years of age represents any damage or benefit for kids. What we do know is that they, like us, are increasingly exposed to screens. The problem is that most of their apps ask for passive attention. Knowing that babies learn best when active, we should look for appropriate apps, that are educational, and make the time spent with them be interactive.

How can I choose truly educational apps?

Before allowing your little one to use an app on your phone or tablet, judge its content and verify that it’s: active, entertaining, meaningful, and social.

• Active: Invites participation within and outside the app.

• Entertaining: Your child is engaged – it captures his attention.

• Meaningful: The app’s content can be related your child’s real life.

• Social: Invites there be face to face interactions (talking about the app or communicating with others via a platform).

Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Summer is here! And it comes with warm, sunny days that are ideally spent splashing around in a pool. Thinking about going for a swim with your little one? Here are some safety guidelines you can follow to make sure that it’s smooth sailing for everyone.

The best way to keep children safe around swimming pools is having an adult who knows how to swim actively supervising them at all times. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be within arm’s reach, in the water with them. There should be a fence or barrier that completely covers the pool area, preventing children from entering the area on their own. If you have a pool at home, it’s a good idea to establish some ground rules. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following: Continue reading

Babyproofing 101

Did you know that house injuries are one of the top reasons kids under 3 visit the E.R. each year?
Babyproofing your home is essential to keeping your baby safe. Supervision is the best way to prevent injuries, but even the most vigilant parents can’t keep their children completely out of harm’s way every second of the day. So it’s smart to be prepared, especially before your little one starts crawling and getting around the house on his own!
Although it may seem odd to start thinking about baby proofing if your little one can’t even roll over yet, you’ll be amazed at how soon he’ll start wandering around the house. Don’t get caught unprepared!
As a first step, don’t assume your baby sees everything the way you do. Remember he is on a very different level – ground level. To avoid overlooking any hazards at home within easy reach try crawling on your knees around the house. It may seem silly at first, but it’s actually one of the best ways to keep your baby safe and see if you’ve missed anything.
Now that you finished your crawling tour, here is a list of the most common household hazards you should keep an eye out for: Continue reading

How to find age appropriate toys for your little one

Kids develop in different stages, so it’s good to have toys that will enhance their experiences, depending on what stages they are on. So in addition to finding safe toys for your child, it’s recommended to find toys that match their level of development and budding skills.

 

Most of the time you’ll find that a lot of safe and suitable play material can be found right at home and can be used in more than one way for children of different ages – you just have to get creative! Below you’ll find a list of appropriate toys for different ages, based on recommendations by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

 

0 – 6 months:

 

Young babies like to look at faces and bright colors, and follow them with their eyes. They can reach for objects and explore them with their hands, feet, and mouth. When they hear a peculiar sound, babies will turn and look towards it. Good toys for this age include:

  • Rattles
  • Large rings
  • Teething toys
  • Squeeze toys
  • Board books with nursery rhymes
  • Unbreakable mirrors

Continue reading